the path to change: Oncology
nurses leading the way

. :  Alice Tong (Vancouver)

Alice TongBefore I retired from nursing, a job that I held for over thirty years, I was often inspired by my patients.  I was rewarded in this way.

Liam was a middle aged breast cancer patient. Her cancer has spread to her bones, for which she was in the clinic for pain control. My colleague told me the paintings on the hallway wall were painted by her. The paintings were of green trees, birds singing and beautiful flowers that seemed to spread peace and joy.

One day while giving her a bath, I told her I painted water color paintings too. We shared our common interest. She told me, “I wasn’t so much into arts before. In fact, work has kept me busy, so busy I never had a quiet time for myself. Even if I did, I felt lost. Therefore I planned a busy schedule for myself, so I didn’t have time to think. About 10 years ago, I was given a diagnosis of breast cancer. Suddenly, as if the sky has fallen, I was spiritually woken up. I remember thinking life is so short. I could leave the world anytime, then what? What is the meaning of life anyway? After the treatment started, I felt so tired most of the time. All I could do was take walks. One day after the rain, a rainbow appeared, and I took a walk in our neighborhood. Passing my neighbors’ gardens, I could smell the beautiful flowers and I hear the birds singing. I took a deep breath, I felt blessed just being alive! Then I remembered the Hymn: This Is My Father’s World, and also Jesus’ saying: We are more valuable to Him than the flowers and birds! My heart was busting with joy and hope, and that was the time I started painting in order to keep this moment permanent.”

Later, while she slept I moved her paintings from the hallway wall, to her room, so when she woke up, she would be reminded of the beautiful world that God has created for us all! May her soul rest in peace forever!

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